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First users sign up to scheme to host datacentres in BT exchanges

Antony Adshead
Electronics company Samsung has signed a £4m, five-year contract to locate 200 servers in BT telephone exchanges in Surrey.

It is an early customer for BT Wholesale's Locate scheme, launched earlier this month, which aims to open up 5,000 UK telephone exchanges and provide managed datacentre hosting to customers.

The London Grid for Learning schools broadband scheme will also use BT telephone exchanges to host its servers.

London Grid for Learning provider Equinox Converged Solutions will use the scheme to house servers to support broadband connectivity for about 1,400 schools and an estimated 750,000 pupils as part of the project.

BT Wholesale is able to offer one million square metres - about 25% of its floorspace - in telephone exchanges as it moves from analogue to digital equipment. The service will offer 99.99% availability and guarantee 100% power availability - equivalent to that of the telephone system.

BT Wholesale general manager Derek Appiah said the service would offer a datacentre no more than 10km from most locations in the UK. Exchanges will be opened up on demand and the service will take two to three months to get up and running.

Analyst Clive Longbottom of Quocirca said BT's move offered opportunities for users. "The great geographic spread is a plus and gives the service a competitive edge compared to suppliers with only a few datacentres. It is worth looking at, especially for SME or branch office users who may not have been able to use the datacentre model previously."

Price depends on the number of servers hosted, with 30-plus servers being charged at approximately £2,500 per rack per annum and increasing to about £6,000 for small numbers of servers.

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